Mental Health and the Pandemic Student

Co-written by Brycen Miller, Madison Red Dog, and Rodney Williamson

College students are experiencing a toll on their mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the move to online learning, according to the article “Online Learning Is Impacting Students’ Mental Health” published by YR Media, a national network of young journalists and artists.

Shayle O. Lliaban, a 4th-year college student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, says she is affected by anxiety.  “I live in the dorms and share a communal restroom with a whole floor of people. I have no idea if the other residents are safe (i.e., are they disinfecting contact points or washing their hands long enough), so I experience constant anxiety because I feel like I could contract COVID-19 anywhere. My anxiety is exacerbated when I see students congregating in public areas like the kitchen, not wearing masks and not six feet apart.”

Lliaban suggested the daily reminders from the university on active cases were useful, but most students didn’t read the e-mail, and the university should more visibly post so students would be safer and wear masks. 

Haskell Indian Nations University student Cameron Hales, sophomore, says he feels his mental health has been affected by COVID 19.  “Coping with stress and emotions was easier with in-person systems. Being in isolation for so long causes me to think a lot. I am prone to overthinking, so there has been a lot of bad days. I believe quarantine has had a profound negative effect on my mental health.”

Taran Andrew says they noticed impacts on their health as well.“Quarantine affected my mental health for the better and for the worse. Quarantine helped me feel more okay with the solitude I felt I needed to put myself in, in order to better myself. It has also made it worse because when I feel like I want to break solitude and escape for a while, I feel guilty about it.  I don’t go to school currently due to my mental health, I made the decision to stop going to school in order to help myself.”

Hales suggested this for those who are struggling with their mental health, “Don’t be afraid to seek help. Reach out to your friends/family or find someone to talk to. Distract yourself with your favorite activities when you’re having a bad day.”

Link to Haskell Indian Nations University’s Counseling Center page.

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